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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

190. Henry Layton

WHOEVER thou art who passest by

Know that my father was gentle,

And my mother was violent,

While I was born the whole of such hostile halves,

Not intermixed and fused,

But each distinct, feebly soldered together.

Some of you saw me as gentle,

Some as violent,

Some as both.

But neither half of me wrought my ruin.

It was the falling asunder of halves,

Never a part of each other,

That left me a lifeless soul.